My husband enjoys hunting for wild mushrooms, and our family enjoys eating them – but only because I’m 100% sure that he knows what he’s doing. He is careful and educated about what species are safe for humans to consume, which is an absolute must for mushroom foraging.
And also we don’t live in Australia, where even the fungus is trying to kill you.
Jk, mushrooms are trying to kill you everywhere. Don’t eat wild mushrooms if you don’t know what they are.
Matt Barrett, a mycologist out of James Cook University, has confirmed the first ever sighting of a Poison Fire Coral mushroom in Australia.
He found the fungus, which was until recently found only in Japan and Korea, in Far North Queensland.
One expert detailed his shock for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“I thought ‘no,’ this can’t be it because this is in Australia’ – it’s not known to be in Australia.”
Podostroma cornu-damae is one of the world’s deadliest mushrooms; even touching it can spell trouble for human beings. Its trichothecene mycotoxins can cause irritation and swelling when absorbed through the skin, and eating the mushroom can lead to stomach pain, vomiting, peeling skin, hair loss, and shrinking of the cerebellum. It has also been found to decrease white blood cells and platelets, and, left untreated, mycotoxins can cause organ failure, necrosis, and death.
Barrett didn’t downplay his warnings about the fungus in his press release regarding the find, either.
“If found, the fungus should not be touched, and definitely not eaten. Of the hundred or so toxic mushrooms that are known to researchers, this is the only one in which the toxins can be absorbed through the skin.”
Barrett suspects that just because no one has spotted Podostroma cornu-damae in Queensland, doesn’t mean it hasn’t been there – in fact he believes it could be fairly widespread.
Which should be a warning to you – take care when foraging, picking, and consuming wild mushrooms (and other species). You’ll definitely want to be sure you know what you’re putting in your body.
Again: do not eat mushrooms if you’re not sure what they are, you could die.